Former Fountain Valley mayor dies

Gus Ayer: Dec. 25, 1949 — Feb. 13, 2013

Gus Ayer was involved in many community causes throughout Orange County.

February 14, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
(Courtesy Ayer family )

Gus Ayer, the former mayor of Fountain Valley and an avid environmentalist, died Wednesday night. He was 63.

According to his oldest son, Ethan, the cause of his death is still pending, but he was found at his Fountain Valley home by his youngest son, Eliot.

Ayer's recent endeavors included helping the residents of Fullerton save Coyote Hills, striking down Measure Z in Huntington Beach and campaigning for numerous council members for the cities of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Westminster.

"He helped Joe [Shaw] and I when we ran for council in 2010," Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman said. "He also ran Debbie Cook's congressional campaign in 2008."

He was considered a mentor to all, including Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Shaw.

"I've known him for six years, but it feels a lot longer than that," he said.

Cook, a former mayor of Huntington Beach, agreed with Shaw and said he would "help anyone that shared his common goals of improving the quality of life for all citizens."


"He helped guide and mentor so many people who were interested in running for office or working on a campaign to protect some piece of their part of Orange County," Cook said. "Many of us turned for that kind of help."

Born Dec. 25, 1949 in Sunflower, Kansas, relatives would call his birthday "Gus-mas."

He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and later moved to San Francisco in 1972, where he would meet his wife, Verna, who he would marry in 1976.

The two eventually moved to Orange County in 1980 and he worked as a sales representative for different companies, according to his son, Ethan.

Ayer got his first taste of public service when he became the president and subsequently a board member for many years at his housing community, Green Valley.

Then in 2002, Ayer started to fully focus on public service and became a council member for Fountain Valley. Then in 2006, he was elected as mayor.

"I'm shocked and saddened and I wish my condolences onto his family," Fountain Valley Mayor Mark McCurdy said.

Fountain Valley Councilwoman Cheryl Brothers, who was on council with Ayer, said he was a "real numbers guy. He would read everything and was good with numbers and finances."

"I'm still shocked. It was all so sudden," she said.

Ethan Ayer said his father would do anything that would benefit not only his family, but everyone else in the community.

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